By Barry Reszel
Sometimes the throw-away paragraph at the bottom of a press release is pretty telltale.
Like the one that says, “Fremont Street Theater Company strives to tap into Chicagoland’s exceptional talent pool of actors, dancers, singers, musicians, choreographers, directors and technical designers to satisfy the quintessential need for a superior theater company in the Northwest Suburbs.”
Of course, such successful tapping is the challenge of most area theatre companies—professional, community or children’s. But Fremont Street is one company helping set the community theatre bar, now celebrating its fifth anniversary with its production of 42nd Street.
Talk about the need for successful tapping!
In fact, this show seeks to blur if not obliterate the line between community and professional productions (think Porchlight, not Waiting for Guffman). It’s being directed and choreographed by the über-talented Dina Di Costanzo and stars pro Annie Jo Ermel, who’s been seen onstage at Marriott, Drury Lane and Paramount.
That’s how missions become realized.
“Our 42nd Street has the most amazing talent both on and off stage,” said Madeline Franklin, Fremont Street’s artistic director and director of the company’s four previous musicals. “Our costume and set designs are just outstanding. We’ve been called ‘Broadway in Palatine’ because we do such great work. We have the drive and the passion and the guts to put on big musicals.”
Like most artistic endeavors, Fremont Street’s contributions are contingent on financial assistance. To supplement this season’s 42nd Street budget, the company has taken to the crowd funding site GoFundMe.com. The link to that campaign is here.
“If you’ve ever dreamed of being on the Broadway stage, well, this show is for you,” said Franklin, also the show’s producer. Based on the novel by Bradford Ropes and the subsequent 1933 Hollywood film adaptation, the show focuses on the efforts of famed dictatorial Great White Way director Julian Marsh to mount a successful stage production of a musical extravaganza at the height of the Great Depression. A full synopsis of the 1981 Tony Award winning musical that features well-know songs of the Broadway canon like “You’re Getting to Be a Habit with Me,” “We’re In the Money,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” “Shuffle Off to Buffalo” and the title song, may be read here.
Fremont Street’s 42nd Street cast and creative team:
Peggy Sawyer – Annie Jo Ermel
Julian Marsh – Mike Weaver
Dorothy Brock – Lisa Adams
Billy Lawlor – Brett Baleskie
Maggie Jones – Julie Koerner
Bert Barry – Frank Roberts
Abner Dillion – Stephen Pickering
Anytime Annie – Kara Vombrack
Andy Lee – Jason Williams
Phyllis – Tori Marie Cahn
Lorraine – Carly Vadnais
Ethel – Annie Snow
Gladys – Rebecca Fortier
Diane – Kristin Joy Irvin
Mac – Moira Burdi
Oscar – Christopher Moreno
Pat Denning – Steven Peter
Dance Ensemble – Kaitlyn Ball, Kara Posmer, Justin O’Brien, Amanda Roby, Karen Neidlinger, Emma Robie, Katie Robie, Maggie Dominick, Natasha Laws, Claire Katz-Mariani, Katie Zarletti, Ellie Schober, Joshua Dizon, Tracy Lande, Urvaksh Avanthsa
Producer/Artistic Director – Madeline Franklin
Director/Choreographer – Dina DiCostanzo
Musical Director – Kenneth James McMullen
Set Designer – David Geinosky
Costume Designer – Patty Halijian
Sound Designer – David L. Snyder
Lighting Designer – Becs Bartle
Stage Manager – Ray Bright
Assistant Choreographer – Amy Orman
Managing Director – Rusty Franklin
The show runs September 9th through September 18th at Cutting Hall Performing Arts Center, 150 E Wood St, Palatine. More information and tickets (discounted online) are available here. Remaining tickets will be sold at the door.
Fremont Street Theater Company is an Illinois nonprofit organization whose mission is to enrich, educate, and entertain our community through the experience of exceptional live theater. Founded in 2012 by Sandy Sandquist, owners Madeline and Rusty Franklin continue to carry the torch in bringing excellence in musical theater to the community.